Ferrell Tadlock, an attorney who works for the Mississippi Court of Appeals, isn't known by most for his day job. He's known for his heavy involvement in the arts. As one of the founders of the Crossroads Film Festival, Tadlock knows a thing or two about films. Before helping to get Crossroads off the ground, he helped Ed Inman sponsor movie nights on Mondays at New Stage Theatre.
"I've done a lot of work at New Stage," he says. "That's how a lot of people know me. Or they know me from working at Lemuria. I worked there for more than 10 years, part-time."
This isn't the end of Tadlock's involvement in the arts community in the city. He's also served as president of the Arts & Lecture Series, and continues to be on the advisory board. He also serves on the boards of Mississippi HeARTS Against AIDS and Ballet Mississippi. When he's not running from one board meeting to another, he's working on his master's degree in theology at Spring Hill College. He's been a Sunday School teacher at St. Peter's Cathedral downtown for the past 18 years, and was recently named the coordinator of religious education at there.
"There are no limits on what you want to do," Tadlock says. "I've been fortunate that way, that people have never told me, 'You can't do that.' I've had lots of great influences like Lynn Green Ruth." He says that Ruth, and people like her, are partly responsible for his getting involved in so many organizations, because they pushed him to fulfill his potential as a person.
One of his recent interests is making films of his own. His in-progress project is "My American Family," about his mother's family growing up in rural Smith County. To produce the film, the Ripley native who's lived in Jackson some 30 years since graduating from Millsaps College, and his partner, Scott Colwell, started Sonambulo Productions (Spanish for "sleepwalker").
"I want to tell my own stories," Tadlock says. "I've been involved in films for 15 years or so, and I realize that I have stories to tell, and have stories that I want to put on the screen, too." By doing this, he says, he recognizes that he has the potential to help others.
Attorney-turned-filmmaker Tadlock intends to continue helping the Jackson community the ways he knows best.
"There's a lot of opportunities here. … In my own little way, I've tried to do what I can to involve myself in the city. I've thought about moving, but I thought, 'Where would I want to move?' I would be hard pressed to find some place to move. Not that (Jackson's) perfect, but it's home."
Fine job, Natalie. It's neat to learn something new about a great guy like Ferrell. He's one of those Jacksonians we can truly call an accomplished gentleman.